Saben NCF

19th June 2006, 13:33
I am researching my late uncles naval service record. He joined the RN on 25 Oct 1939 and retired as Petty Officer on 29 July 1963
Most of the ships and shore stations on his record are known to me with the ecception of the following:
Ship in which serving: SABEN NCF
From 16 Oct 1943 untill 1 April 1944
I have no idea if this is a ship or shore base. Can anyone help

19th June 2006, 15:31
Welcome John to the site enjoy it and all it has to offer. No doubt someone will come forth with the answer.

fred henderson
19th June 2006, 15:46
A warm welcome John. It looks like an acronym. Some of the RN members may have the answer.

Fred (Thumb)

19th June 2006, 16:14
NCF seems to be a popular acronym. I don't think it can be either Naval College Fund or Naval Christian Fellowship. Could be Naval Construction Force but couldn't associate that with SABEN and I think it is US anyway.
I think your hope definitely lies with any Royal Navy members who know this place.

Good luck!


Hugh MacLean
19th June 2006, 17:52
Welcome aboard, John. Enjoy the site.

I have come up with a blank on your request. Is there anything else you can add and is Saben spelt correctly?
Will keep a lookout.

19th June 2006, 20:44
Welcome John

Ex-Grey Funnel Line but like Hugh this one is new to me. Knowing how the RN
love initials, as very much a shot in the dark could SA stand for South Africa - were there any hints that your relative had been there at anytime in his service?
It might help if you could let us know the ship/shore base he served on immediately before and immediately after the SABEN one together with the dates - might help us to tie it down a bit more.
Will keeping looking!
Peter 4447

20th June 2006, 18:36
Hi Peter,
The ships my uncle served on prior to and after SABEN NCF were as follows:
VALIANT From 28 May 1942
DRAKE From 28 April 1943
SABEN NCF From 16 Oct 1943
ORLANDO (Dominica) From 1 April 1944
EAGLET (Dominica) From 1 Nov 1944
NIGERIA From 15 Feb 1946

20th June 2006, 22:56
I don't pretend to be any sort of expert on the Royal Navy but will put my head on the block and wait for someone else to tell me I am talking bollox but here goes .....

Your list shows your uncle as posted to Drake in 1943. Now according to my research, the last actual ship with this name was sunk in 1917 and HMS Drake was the name given to Her Majesty's Base Devonport (HMBD).

There is no trace of an actual ship called HMS Orlando being around in WW2 and this also seems to be a shore base somewhere near Greenock.

All these bases seem to have been named after famous ships in the past.

Maybe your uncle had some kind of training role for new recruits?

Hope this helps.



20th June 2006, 23:31
Hi John
Thanks for the information. As Brian has said 'Drake' was the RN Barracks at Devonport - known to matelots as 'Jago's Mansions'. I am also inclined to go along with Brian now in thinking that Saben NCF is the title of some form of shore based employment rather than having any involvement with a particular ship - however the search will continue.
Peter4447 (*))

20th June 2006, 23:56
Hi again John
Some further thoughts. Your relative served in HMS Orlando and HMS Eaglet but you have also given the name Dominca in brackets after both. The smaller Naval vessels tended to have a Parent ship or base ie: HMS Dolphin, was the former submarine base at Gosport and this would often have been shown on a man's records even though he would actually have been serving in a submarine at the time.
There was an HMS DOMINICA serving in the RN she was one of the 21 Colony Class Frigates built in the USA (as the USA Frigate HARMON) and supplied to the RN under lend-lease. She was launched on the 21st Sept 1943 and commissioned on the 25th January 1944. These dates would tend to fit with your relatives service and I think it is very possible that SABEN NCF would have been the title given to those who made up the crew of the Dominica, who would have sailed across the Atlantic to the USA to bring her to the UK. She could then have 'worked up' in the Clyde area (HMS Orlando) before moving to the Western Approaches where her Parent ship may have been HMS Eaglet in Liverpool.
This is only speculation but it does tend to fit rather nicely.

21st June 2006, 12:07
Hi John
Not quite sure if I made myself clear over the subject of the small Naval vessels that were referred to as 'Tenders'. You would often find, for example, engraved on a Long Service and Good Conduct medal the name of the Recipient, his Service Number, Rank and ship. However if he was serving in a small ship (such as a Destroyer, Frigate or Submarine), the name of the vessel engaved on the medal would be the name of the Parent Ship and NOT the actual name of the ship in which he was serving at the time. This applies equally to Service Records and which is why I am convinced your Uncle was serving in HMS Dominica, because it was common practice to use the name of the Parent ship followed in brackets by the name of the ship in which the man was actually serving. It is extremely frustrating for research purposes but this 'tender' system has been used for many years by the RN.
I have E Mailed a lady whose Father served in HMS Seychelles (same class as Dominica) and I am hopeful that he might be able to throw some more light on this subject, particularly if he remembers the title the Seychelles crew were given before they went across the 'big pond' to collect their ship.
Will keep you informed.
Kind regards
Peter4447 (*))

21st June 2006, 23:43
The 1st Commanding Officer of the 'Dominica' was a Commander Norman Winder Duck - if his signature appears on your Uncle's service record then you have your answer.
Peter4447 (Thumb)

22nd June 2006, 20:54
Hi Peter,
I think I have cracked it. I now believe that SAKEN is in fact SAKER.
HMS Saker was the main RN and USN base in Brunswick Main during ww2.
HMS Sakerll in Washington was responsible for all RN Personnel matters, pay etc in North America
There were also bases in Canada , Washington DC and Brooklyn Navy Yard.
HMS Saker comissioned on 1 Oct 1941 and payed off in 1948
This would fit in with the commissioning of HMS Dominica which was one of the 50 lease lend ships
NCF is still a blank. I think if may have been short for Naval Construction Facility or something like that.
His immediate post war drafts were
Nigeria 15 Feb 1946 (Cruiser based at Simonstown SA)
Defiance(Miner5) 17 Oct 52 ?
Raupura 21 May 55 (Destroyer Depot Ship)
Blackcap 1April 54 (Naval Air Station)
Caiser(Berrerophon) 3 Jan 1956 ?
Eagle 1 Feb 1957 (Aircraft Carrier)
Orion 25 Aug 59 ?
It goes on and on with many courses back to RNB Devonport

Thanks for the kickstart.
Orion Agu 59

Hugh MacLean
22nd June 2006, 21:02
Is there anything else you can add and is Saben spelt correctly?
One of the things that stumps most people when looking for old ships/establishments.

Glad you got there in the end.


22nd June 2006, 21:09
Hi John
Delighted to have been of assistance. Just a couple of quick points, the 50 lend-lease ships you refer to were the old 4 funnelled USA destroyers that came over early in the War and were quiet separate from the Colony and Captain Class were frigates.
I noticed a postcard photograph on for sale on E Bay the other day of HMS Dominica, unfortunately, the bidding ended on the 11th June.
Kind regards and best wishes
Peter4447 (Thumb)

Hugh MacLean
23rd June 2006, 16:55

Info on HMS Dominica:

Tacoma Class Patrol Frigate: (MC Type T. S2-S2-AQ1) Originally authorized as Gunboat (PG-187); Redesignated Patrol Frigate (PF-79), 15 April 1943; Laid down under a Maritime Commission contract at Welsh-Kaiser Co., Inc., Providence RI; Assigned to the Royal Navy under the Lend-Lease Program; Renamed Dominica and Launched 21 September 1943; Transferred to the Royal Navy and commissioned HMS Dominica, 25 January 1944; Returned to US custody 23 April 1946; Struck from the Naval Register (date unknown); Returned to the Maritime Commission for disposal; Final Disposition, sold for scrapping 27 March 1947 to Sun Shipbuilding & Drydock, Chester, PA.

Specifications: Displacement 1,190 t.; Length, 303' 11"(oa); Bean 37' 6"; Draft 13' 8"; Speed 20kts; Complement 190; Armament three 3"/50AA gun mounts, two twin 40mm gun mounts , nine 20mm guns, 1 Hedgehog depth charge projector; eight Y-gun depth charge projectors, two depth charge racks; Propulsion, two 5,500 iHP turbines, two shafts, three boilers.